Rendering: fibrous “roots” that are extruded from the soil host projections and invite interaction. Image: Alexander Greene
Still from animation exploring generative plant structures and branching communication. Image: Michael Swearingen
We as a species share a symbiotic relationship with every other living plant and creature on Earth. The interconnectedness of plant communication echoes the practical and abstract binding of our economies and our Internet. This illuminated, polymorphic installation visually represents the way in which plants transmit chemical messages to one another; it charges the negative space between park trees, acting as an extrusion of the mycorrhizal fungi (a fungi that that is benignly hosted in plant roots, thereby connecting the plants in an underground network or “Wood Wide Web”) in this soil below. A place to meander, visitors are encouraged to physically engage with the modules. By pushing/pulling the fibrous projection surfaces, or engaging simple machines with lenses that manipulate the output of fixed lighting, the viewer enters the dialogue. A projection-mapped animation anchors the grouping, completing the impression of sentience and vitality. Both the animation and the modular structures share generative patterns derived from tree species on site. The frames and fibers of the modules are constructed of up-cycled or recyclable materials; accent lighting is solar powered. The project was designed and fabricated by the University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Art & Design’s Transmedia Studio, comprised of 14 students
UW-Stout’s Transmedia Studio combined the skills of student animators, filmmakers, game designers, illustrators, industrial designers, sculptors and was taught by an architect. This advanced studio reunites students who collaborated in foundations courses, but have now developed technical expertise and conceptual rigor in their respective fields.
Laura Bernadette Meeker
Assistant Professor: Kimberly Long Loken